Standing With Ukraine Against Russian Aggression


As Russia continues their heinous attack on Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has single-handedly decided to end decades of peace among the nations of Europe on the basis of invented grievances and outright lies. His weakness of character will not be rewarded. Ukraine will stand strong, and the United States, our Allies, and our partners in the free world will stand with them to ensure that Russia feels the consequences of its invasion. 

This attack will not achieve Putin’s goal to seemingly reconstitute the Soviet Union; it will only create unnecessary human suffering. Let’s be clear: an unprovoked attack is not a defensive maneuver, armed soldiers invading a free, sovereign country are not ‘peacekeepers’, and not one of Russia’s missile strikes or cyberattacks will help Ukrainians.

As we continue to push to ensure that Russia pays a dire price for these despicable attacks, I’m praying for the people of Ukraine who are needlessly caught in the sights of a dictator’s delusions. I've been heartened to see the Biden administration's significant sanctions, the coordination with allies that included halting the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and the significant global condemnation of Russia's actions. Earlier this month, to reinforce this united resolve, the Senate overwhelming passed a bipartisan resolution condemning the aggression by Russia and promising a significant response to any incursion. We will continue pushing – together – to hold Russia and Putin accountable.

Preventing Attempts to Undermine Democracy


The United States of America is an anomaly in world history – we're a government run by the people, of the people, and for the people. The norm throughout most of history has been just the opposite, kings, dictators, and more recently, presidents-for-life have ruled with near unlimited authority – giving the people little or no say in the decisions that determine their fate. The fundamental foundation of this experiment in America – what has made our government “by the people” possible – is the democratic and peaceful transfer of power. For almost 250 years, Americans have gone to the ballot box, selected their preference for who should represent them, and then the next morning moved on together, win or lose, to build a stronger nation. 

Last year, we came dangerously close to failing in this peaceful transfer of power. As Congress worked to certify the election on January 6th, some tried to (incorrectly) use an antiquated law called the Electoral Count Act to overturn a fair election.

This law in question was passed after the highly contested 1877 Hayes-Tilden presidential race to ensure Congress had the power to settle potential disputes about electoral college results. While well intended, the law was far too vague, and in many places, poorly written. 

Fortunately, this attempt to overturn the free and fair election in 2021 was unsuccessful – but ambiguities in the law helped fuel the Capitol insurrection. Obviously, more clarity is needed. 

Since the January 6th attack, I’ve been thinking about what can be done to eliminate the possibility of similar attacks on our democracy, or attempts to overturn a free and fair election. After consulting with legal experts, historians, and scholars to try and pin down the issues with the Electoral Count Act, and what can be done to modernize it; I joined my colleagues Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) to outline the core goals of an Electoral Count Modernization Act.

We released a discussion draft of the bill earlier this month, and are hoping that our head start here can help shape the discussion happening in Congress, and that we can find consensus to update this antiquated law. The bill would address many of the concerns vocalized by experts across the political spectrum with the current Electoral Count Act, including the role of the Vice President, how states certify electors, and the threshold needed to challenge election results. I spoke more about the history of the Electoral Count Act, and our goals of the discussion draft in this interview with the New York Times.

This is an incredibly important effort – but updating the Electoral Count Act should not be mistaken for a substitute for confronting the wider crises facing our democracy. I continue to support legislation to protect voting rights prior to Election Day, and strongly believe that we must clarify ambiguities in the electoral process after Election Day to truly ensure the will of the voters will prevail.

Together, my colleagues and I stand ready to share the knowledge we have accumulated with both parties, and look forward to contributing to a strong, bipartisan effort aimed at resolving this issue and strengthening our democracy. If we want to protect our system of government and pass it on to the next generation, we must take action now to defend it.

Protecting the Great Outdoors for Generations to Come


From sunrises over Acadia’s rocky coast to sunsets bouncing light off the canyons in Zion – America’s public lands connect our people and give common gathering places for some of life’s most wonderful moments. These lands are a unique American inheritance that have been passed on by those who came before us, and it’s Congress' job to steward these treasures for generations to come.

In 2020, Congress took a historic, bipartisan step to accomplish that goal and passed the Great American Outdoors Act, which was the most important land conservation legislation in a generation. This legislation is an incredible accomplishment – but the words on the paper won’t make a difference without the proper follow-through. As Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks, I’ve been working to ensure the new law is properly administered – which is why this month, we held the first Congressional hearing on the implementation of the bill. 

In the hearing, we heard from top officials about how the funds are being used, the status of previously deferred maintenance, and how the bill is protecting "America's Best Idea." Execution is as important as vision, and this hearing was an important step to ensure the proper execution of the momentous effort. 

But even with the passage and execution of the Great American Outdoors Act, there's still a lot of work to be done to protect these public lands for years to come. As parks see record levels of visitation, we need to help more people experience these treasures – while being careful to prevent a crush of enthusiastic visitors from loving the lands to death. After months of feedback from National Park Service officials and conservation experts, Senator Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and I introduced the Gateway Community and Recreation Enhancement Act that would create a "Waze for Parks" to share data in real time about park crowding levels, while providing nearby public land alternatives for potential visitors.

We’re hopeful that this bipartisan bill can reduce traffic in our nation’s most popular national parks and shine an overdue spotlight on some of the country’s lesser-known jewels. You can read more about this effort in this article by Backpacker

Once visitors arrive at a park, they deserve a high-quality experience, which includes adequate park staff – but the numbers are going the wrong way. Since 2011, staffing at the National Park Service has continually declined from 22,051 full-time equivalent positions to 18,567 in 2020. That's why Senator Daines and I joined together again to call on top Senate appropriators to allocate more funds for park staff, and to make sure our parks like Acadia have appropriate staff to fulfill their daily needs.

Together, between the Great American Outdoors Act and this aggressive new legislative action, our National Parks are on the right track to stay the national treasures we know and love for our generation, and many future generations to come. 

Securing Maine's Clean Energy Future


As we work to secure America's clean energy future, our top three priorities should be storage, storage, and storage. When we can efficiently store and distribute renewable energy – for when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow – it will open a whole new world of possibilities for our economy and our environment. 

This is why I am particularly excited about a new $2.91 billion investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that will increase the domestic production of energy storage technologies and bring us closer to our clean future than ever before. Investing in this infrastructure of the future right here in America will fight climate change, create good paying jobs in our own communities and reduce our reliance on foreign fossil fuel exporters. It is, in every aspect, an investment well-worth making. 

Some of the most immediately notable improvements from this investment will be in the transportation sector, where electric vehicles offer a promising opportunity to cut emissions, improve air quality, and help consumers save on fuel costs. 

If you watched the Super Bowl, it felt like every other commercial was for electric cars or trucks. But in order for electric vehicles to meet their potential we need strong, widely available charging infrastructure, especially in a rural, spread-out state like Maine. That's why I was also happy to see the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill delivering millions this month to help put charging stations in our communities and allow more Maine people to seriously consider the possibility of making their next car an electric vehicle. 

I’m pleased to see this significant investment in Maine’s energy infrastructure needs to support that transition, and look forward to this legislation’s continued support for Maine communities and our air quality.

Investing in Easy, Accessible COVID-19 Testing


With COVID-19 continuing to pose a threat to our communities, frequent testing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect yourself and your loved ones – particularly if you think you've been exposed. It's been encouraging to see the increasing availability of these tests, especially of at-home rapid COIVD-19 tests that give quick and easy peace of mind.

Last month, the Biden administration made these rapid tests free for Americans with private insurance, and after calls from myself and a group of my Senate colleagues, this month the Administration announced the tests will now finally be covered by Medicare. This is in addition to the free, home delivery of rapid COVID-19 tests purchased by the American Rescue Plan available to all Americans at

But there’s more to the story. Not only are these tests a key tool to limit the spread of COVID-19 and help us safely gather with our friends and family – they're also creating good jobs for Maine people. Many of these rapid tests being shipped to homes across America are being produced by Abbott in Maine, right in Westbrook and Scarborough.

Earlier this month I had the privilege of touring the Abbott Westbrook manufacturing facility to see the skill and dedication of Abbott employees, observe their work to produce these lifesaving tests, and learn more about how the company is shipping tests across the country thanks to American Rescue Plan funding. 

I’m deeply grateful for all that Abbott and their employees have done for our state and our country during this pandemic, and I look forward to their continued growth and success here in Maine. If you haven't already ordered your at-home free COVID-19 tests, I would encourage you to do so at

Holding China Accountable For Yet Another Broken Promise


In 2020, the previous administration signed a trade agreement with China that included a commitment to purchase an additional $200 billion of American goods and despite calls for transparency from Maine's congressional delegation, an undisclosed amount of additional lobster. Earlier this month we learned that China fell far short of that promise, and in fact bought less U.S. goods than before the deal was signed.

It's clear that this is another in a long line of broken promises from China to American businesses, that's why Representatives Chellie Pingree, Jared Golden, and I are calling for the Biden administration to disclose the value of lobster that China agreed to purchase, and to take steps that will ensure they begin to fulfill their agreements.  

Maine’s lobster industry deserves far better than this. Prior to 2018, when China imposed retaliatory tariffs on American lobster, the industry worked hard to develop the Chinese market for Maine lobster. Now, they have lost years of promising market growth – and hundreds of millions of dollars – due to continued tariffs and our government’s continued inability to hold China accountable.

I hope the Biden administration will provide this much-needed transparency, and take concrete actions that ensure China increases and sustains purchases of Maine lobster along with its broader commitment to buy $200 billion in additional American goods. 

Supporting Bangor's 101st Air Refueling Wing


Bangor's 101st Air Refueling Wing plays an important role in America's national defense. These hardworking servicemembers provide critical air and logistics support to North Atlantic missions that are fundamental to the safety of our nation, in addition to serving as a key part of the Bangor community. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I’m working to make sure they have the tools they need to secure our safety.

In a recent hearing of the Armed Services Committee, I had a chance to highlight the vital work of the 101st to our national defense, and had Dr. Ravi Chaudhary – nominee to be Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Energy, Installations, and the Environment – reaffirm their continued importance. As the Pentagon considers where to base a new fleet of Boeing KC-46 Pegasus, I also commended the 101st's strategic importance and outstanding service record to the nominee, telling him point blank that there is “no more strategic air refueling wing” in the nation.

In response, Dr. Chaudhary pledged to “definitely” give the MAINEiacs due consideration for the KC-46s – which would be a major victory for the region. If selected, the aircraft fleet would bring up to 200 active duty servicemembers to Bangor, bolstering the base’s work on behalf of America’s national security and strengthening the region’s economy. I will continue to track the status of the new KC-46 fleet, and will push for Bangor to receive this well-deserved allocation. 

Addressing Veteran and Servicemember Suicide


America’s servicemembers have made extraordinary sacrifices for our nation – they embraced the call to serve and put their lives on the line to protect our country. Now, we have an obligation to serve these heroes with the same dedication that they served us; as military suicides rise at an alarming pace in 2020, our men and women in uniform need our help. 

Last month, for an episode of Answering the Call, Maine’s Veteran Voices, I sat down with Chris McGhee, who served for 20 years in the Air Force and is now an advocate for ending the epidemic of veteran and servicemember suicide. One of the problems he explained was that there is simply a lack of data on military suicides, and that it makes prevention efforts difficult at best.  

Chris made a strong argument – and I brought it straight to the Department of Defense. A few weeks after our conversation I pressed Dr. Lester Martinez-Lopez – nominee to be Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs – to look into how data coordination between the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration’s medical system could help prevent suicides. In response to the questioning, Dr. Martinez-Lopez committed to intervening as necessary to address the suicide epidemic, including by examining the way data is shared.

This commitment won't solve the crisis facing our servicemembers and veterans, but it's an important step in the right direction. I’ll stay on it, and make sure that we’re doing everything we can to support the men and women who put their lives on the line for our nation. 

Wishing a Happy Retirement to a Friend and Colleague

After nearly a decade, my dear friend Chris Rector is retiring from his position as Regional Representative for Knox, Waldo, Hancock and Washington Counties. 

There aren’t words that will sufficiently convey my gratitude for Chris’ service to the state of Maine. He had exceptional vision for a prosperous Maine future for generations ahead, while also remaining mindful of the day-to-day trials and triumphs of our neighbors. Nothing was a more clear demonstration of his humanity and local commitment than his daily ringing of the local church bell to honor our health care workers throughout the pandemic – for over 400 days in a row; rain, sun, sleet or snow – and it’s that deep connection to his community that is a model for us all.

I'm sad to see him go, but know that while he may be leaving our office, his service to our state will not be ending. I look forward to seeing him around our communities, and hope he can take advantage of his well-deserved retirement. 

Chris certainly leaves big shoes to fill, but I'm excited that Regional Representative Edie Smith of Glenburn will extend her positive energy and expertise to Washington County, and that Christina Valar Breen of Holden – who currently serves as a Constituent Services Representative – will serve Hancock, Waldo and Knox Counties.

I have no doubt that they will continue Chris' exceptional legacy of service. 

February Policy Update


As a reminder, you can read more on my regularly updated press release page at Here are some other priorities I’ve been working on:

  • Improving transparency to prevent cyberattacks. With cyberattacks on the rise within the private sector that put American networks at risk, I joined a bipartisan group of my colleagues in urging the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to increase transparency requirements for companies. Read more HERE
  • Helping fill job vacancies at Maine businesses. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and I led a bipartisan group of more than thirty Senators in calling for the Biden administration to raise the H-2B seasonal worker visa cap as small businesses across the country struggle to find employees as the economy recovers. Read more HERE
  • Helping asylum seekers obtain jobs quicker. In an effort to allow asylum seekers find employment quicker and become self-sufficient, I'm cosponsoring legislation introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) to shorten the waiting period before asylum seekers are allowed to receive work authorizations. Read more HERE.
  • Limiting "junk" healthcare plans that hurt Maine people. In a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra I called for the Biden administration to limit the sale and availability of “junk” healthcare plans that offer inadequate coverage to Maine people. Read more HERE.
  • Protecting Maine wildlife and outdoor recreation. Maine will receive $16,194,065 from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) Program to support wildlife conservation efforts and outdoor sport in the state. The funding will help conserve Maine’s outdoors, manage wildlife populations, and support outdoor recreation opportunities for future generationsRead more HERE
  • Expanding Maine broadband. Maine will be receiving an additional $28 million to expand broadband services to 14,783 locations in Franklin, Lincoln, Hancock, and Knox counties. This funding was provided through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Broadband Infrastructure Program and authorized through the bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill that was signed into law in December 2020. Read more HERE

In The News


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